In a month or so I will need to make a very important decision. I can either go back to school and do Masters in Finance or I can get a professional certification.

I am currently living and working in Denmark, however my ultimate goal is to be able to work in Germany in finance industry. Ultimately, I want to become a compliance officer (currently working in the compliance section). I'm already 29 years old, so if I want to do masters it is the last chance.

On the other hand I have a well paid job with prospects to increase my salary. I am very concerned but I cannot help it but wish to go and study in Germany.

Is a certificate and work experience more important/relevant than masters degree given my aim to work in the German financial industry? Perhaps pursuing a masters along a part time job is also viable?

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    This is very hard to answer without knowing your financial situation, the German financial industry, your past experience, and specific goals for the future. Even then, the answer is probably "it depends" -- it's really a matter of opinion as to which is better. One could make a good case for either option. – mcknz Dec 12 '20 at 17:22
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    is there compliance specific certification there? Compliance Officer is in-house in most places with no specific cert of it's own that I know of. – Kilisi Dec 12 '20 at 18:36
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    Hey Laura, welcome to The Workplace. I suggest you please take the tour and read the help center to start to get to know your way around here. Currently, the post you wrote is off topic (as it is asking for us to make a choice for you, a thing that only you can truly do). I will attempt to edit it to remove the off-topic parts – DarkCygnus Dec 12 '20 at 18:43
  • Also, as Kilisi asked, what sort of certification are you talking about or that you have in mind? That would greatly help to give you a proper answer – DarkCygnus Dec 12 '20 at 18:52
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    "I'm already 29 years old, so if I want to do masters it is the last chance." why? I know people way older than that doing masters. – Tymoteusz Paul Dec 12 '20 at 18:56

I would go with a certification / course for compliance officers. YOu may well be unhireable without a certification.

This is a complex legal area. Your employer may want to run a liability insurance and know that you are current on the exact legal requirements. An error can get expensive. The liability insurance may insist on a certification that proves you where tested on actually doing your job.

I am generally not a fan of too many certifications, but in areas where exact knowledge has to be proven for either complex requirements (as here) or liability (as here) they may well be a requirement to find employment. And it may not be a one time thing - you may want to have to go through regular recertifications either on a schedule or when the regulations change (which they seem to do in the financial area quite often).

Not to all others in comments: Compliance MAY be only KYC (which is trivial), but it includes a great many other things (like Sarbanes Oxley).

It is probably good to have both - but if you want to work as Compliance Officer, I would be surprised if that is possible without certification. The Risk/Reward side for whoever employs you would be QUITE bad if you make an error by overlooking something in some legalese requirements document and it can not be proven that you did have the required knowledge.

  • I just don't know if there is any sort of "certification" and/or "course" (those two things being totally different) for compliance "officers" (whatever that means) at brokerages (is that what we're talking about?) in frankfurt... – Fattie Dec 14 '20 at 0:09
  • "If you do not know you are simply too lazy to use google" no need to get worked up and make smart comments :) You know, I did see the day courses on the "Frankfurt School of Finance * Management" page; I rather dismissed them as fluff. (If the OP is comparing gaining a Masters to "your employer sending you to an afternoon talk" - this QA is utterly pointless.) As you mention below, you yourself are an actual licensed broker in the US (like an actual finra series 7 etc presumably). It is inconceivable anyone would compare your "real" certifications to such day talks.. – Fattie Dec 14 '20 at 14:02
  • thus essentially, for me the OP's question is about comparing a master's (!) to a "real" certifcation - exactly like for example being a real licensed stockbroker, a real CPA or in an extreme example a real member of the bar. I just didn't even consider the possibility the OP is saying "what is better, a Master's or some day talks?" ("Earn a gold embossed CCO™ Certification with your name and designation as a MAAFM (Member of the American Academy of Financial Management") So for me that's the basic confusion on this (well and truly closed!) QA! – Fattie Dec 14 '20 at 14:04
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    Actually Stock Broker (and futures broker) together back in the day was HALF A YEAR of SIDE LEARNING ON THE JOB. Not exactly comparable to a masters degree. As such, yeah, the question is sort of bordering delusional - I would say do both. The masters is usable generally, and the certification is for the career specific detail knowledge. – TomTom Dec 14 '20 at 14:25

For the sake of putting in an answer, in that arena far and away Masters.

Hurry, hurry to get your masters out of the way.

Perhaps pursuing a masters along a part time [or full time] job is also viable?

Sure, even better.

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    Rhetorical questions can be embarrassing, right? :) I'm hardly an expert but I lived there for a couple years and work in that field. Certainly, there could be some confusion over what OP means by "certifications", or I may be wildly offbase in understanding what OP is asking in some other way ! – Fattie Dec 13 '20 at 2:51
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    I am not sure the "noone cares about certifications" is relevant AT ALL. A compliance officer is about following regulations quite exact. A masters degree will NOT provide the relevant detail knowledge and test - it is not useless, mind you, but compliance is about a lot of small things that also are changing frequently. An insurance mayi nsist on not only seeing a certification, but also the documents that indicate it is kept up to date. Without a certification, getting insurance may be impossible for your employer. And without paperwork that you know what you do... – TomTom Dec 13 '20 at 17:45
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    ...in case something ends up in court, you may have a fun time arguing how you know all the details (especially when you made something wrong). I dare say that there are areas where a certification is definitely needed, and compliance officers are one of the areas where a certification is probably EXTREMELY needed. – TomTom Dec 13 '20 at 17:45
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    Yes. I have both, a background as a Broker from many years ago and an IT background that involved designing risk management systems for a major european commodity trading house. The details ARE logical speculation, but they are based on my experience of a VERY VERY VERY regulated industry. I can not imagine such an officer not having a certificate WHEN EVERY BROKER HAS TO HAVE ONE. – TomTom Dec 13 '20 at 21:13
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    You are not able to use google? Shame. I found a couple of certifications in 10 seconds. It is not like I did not do my homework. Examples? gafm.com/page/CCO, etactics.com/blog/compliance-certificate, execed.frankfurt-school.de/home/individuals/… – TomTom Dec 14 '20 at 9:34

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